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Monday, December 27, 2021 

The history of racist cartoons published by a Texas newspaper

The Dallas Morning News tells the history of the paper's very own brushes with racism over a century ago, in cartoons titled "Texas History Movies". But there's a suggestion they're downplaying a form of racism in modern times simultaneously:
Texas History Movies was a comic strip that first ran in The Dallas Morning News for two years from 1926 to 1928. Then the newspaper canceled it. But the cartoons about Texas history didn’t die. The originals were reprinted again and again in books and distributed to hundreds of thousands of Texas public school students for the next 30 years.

The strips were riddled with inaccuracies and ignorance. They only told the story of the Lone Star State through a prism of the experience of white people. They were also racist and fostered the worst stereotypes of Black and brown people who played a significant role in the development of Texas.

As some worry about the indoctrination of today’s students through so-called critical race theory, it’s important to remember that these cartoons indoctrinated generations of students for decades. And because the racism was shielded under the guise of a fun comic strip, the damage to people of color in terms of their self-esteem is incalculable, one major civil rights activist told me this week.
Let us be perfectly clear. Of course everybody should know about what psychological damage these ancient propaganda creations led to. But if they're suggesting CRT, which indoctrinates into believing whites are irredeemably racist, is a trivial issue by contrast, that's insulting, because it minimizes the seriousness of a form of racism in disguise, in full contradiction of Martin Luther King's beliefs that you shouldn't judge by skin color, but rather, by personality/ideological leanings. Goodness knows what incalculable damage CRT's done to tons more people at this point. The description "so-called" only hints they consider it a trivial issue, when here, it's just as damaging as the cartoons from the early 20th century. Yet they continue to say:
Repercussions are long-lasting. The Rev. Peter Johnson of Dallas, who was a disciple of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., said, “As a people, we have not overcome the psychological damage that kind of stuff has done to us.”

To which I would add, this not only applies to Black and brown people depicted in the strips. Whites were hurt, too, because these strips did the opposite of improving race relations in Texas.

A cartoon history of Texas sounds so benign. Let’s not be fooled.
Then for heaven's sake, don't minimize the effects of CRT. Similarly, don't minimize the racially motivated violence that took place over the past year or so via BLM and Antifa hoodlums. If that's how every problem is going to be solved, nothing is solved at all. At the end, it says:
State Rep. Jarvis Johnson, D-Houston, is a leading state lawmaker on matters of diversity.

The cartoons, he told me, were part of the process of dehumanizing people of color.

Johnson has fought for several years to remove Confederate Heroes Day as a recognized state holiday. But his efforts have been for naught. Elected in 2016, Johnson cannot get his bill out of committee for a full vote. Much to his great despair, his bill can’t even get a hearing.

“The truth has to be told,” he said of Texas History Movies. “And the truth hurts. The truth is painful.

“It was done, and we need to bring awareness to it,” he added. “This is how you heal people. You let people know you made a mistake, and we want to change it. We acknowledge our mistake, and then we move on.”
Ahem. Of course it's ludicrous to celebrate totalitarians who upheld slavemongering. I just hope the Dallas Morning News isn't distorting anything in regards to the guy's bills. And I do know that, if you think destroying statues rather than putting them on special display at a museum for Black History to show how there were thugs in the past with an obscene idea of how to memorialize, that's missing a great opportunity to educate how past villains went about business. Some would do well to ponder that the Democrats were the party of Confederates too. Yes, the truth can be painful. But then, that's why it does a lot of good to remember that too, and who knows, maybe some new cartoons researching those issues can make a challenging way to counter what the Morning News' cartoons from a century ago were doing. The question is, would liberals actually be willing to do that? It's unclear. Just like there's no telling if they'll ever want to address the valid concern of violent hoodlums running around loose committing crimes in the name of so-called "justice". That's exactly why the paper shouldn't be diminishing the harm caused by Critical Race Theory in a history article focused on racial prejudice.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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